Our lives are not static and our goals can grow and change in the same way we do. They can be influenced by both internal and external factors. So, as we learn more about ourselves and the world around us – our goal journey can require tweaking.
If you feel out of touch with your goal journey. There is no need to worry. The answer to these three questions can help you evaluate and make required adjustments.
Am I still excited about my goal?
Many things in life can stop us from reaching our life goals. Such as:
Being distracted by other priorities
Feeling unmotivated to take action
Feeling overwhelmed by the process
These are all normal issues we need to overcome as part of the process. But if your goal journey has gone off the rails you should reflect to see if there are deeper reasons to consider.
If you are feeling out of touch with your goals – take the opportunity to check and make sure they are still right for you.
The key to your motivation is to ensure your goal journey still excites you.
Self-reflect on the following:
Am I still feeling excited about achieving my goals? If not, why not?
Once you reflect on the questions above – you should be in one of two places.
Ready to reinvigorate your goal journey: In which case – check-in with your goal plan and make any adjustments you need to move forward.
Ready to start again: It is never a bad idea to go back to the drawing board with your goals.
Has my life shifted?
As our life progresses and our experiences multiply and what brings us meaning will naturally evolve as a result. As this evolves – so will our goals.
If you feel out of touch with your goal journey – take the time to self-reflect. Perhaps subtle (or massive) changes in your life require your goals to shift gears.
Self-reflect on the following:
When I think about what is most important in my life – does anything different come up?
If it does – consider what effect it has on your goals and make any required changes.
Where is my focus?
Sometimes internal factors creep into the way we shape and achieve our goals. These can come from issues such as:
Fear of failure
Comparison with others
These factors can influence goals and behaviors, and change their focus.
We find ourselves focusing on these issues and not the goals we need to be working on. We can find ourselves modifying activities to protect ourselves from being uncomfortable. And we can focus on the dark tunnel and not the light we need to reach on the other side.
Self-reflect on the following:
What am I trying to achieve and what thoughts are stopping me from taking action.
Try to understand why you are having these thoughts. (Continue to ask yourself: But why do I think that until you hit a root cause?)
If required, revisit your goals – and make any changes required.
As your lives evolve – your goal journey will too.
So don’t be afraid to keep re-shaping your goals. Continue to self-reflect and make the changes you need to go full steam ahead.
After you have chosen the right goals – you must make sure you have everything in place you need to achieve them.
This will help you to start thinking logistically about your goal – but also about who you will need to support you and help you to be accountable.
For example, if a key resource can’t make time for you – you must put a plan in place to factor this in.
If they can’t help at this time – don’t automatically set the goal aside until they can. First, think about if there are other people that can help support this goal. Or, consider if there are other ways to achieve this goal.
Completing these three steps will support you to set off on a successful journey in no time. Just remember, the most important part is to understand “why” a goal is important to you. If this foundation is right – you will have clear skies from there.
Have you consumed a lot of content about how to be a happier person but still seem to be in the same ol’ mood?
You are not alone. And there are good reasons for this.
In this post, I am going to share my top tips on happiness from not only consuming a mountain of research, articles, podcasts and videos – but also from my personal experience.
Happiness Set points
Let’s start by talking about set points.
We all have a happiness set point. This is a level of happiness that we always return to. Unless we put in some hard work.
For example, if right now if I gave you a large cash prize or a reward you have always dreamed of. Initially, you would be exceedingly happy. But eventually, you would return to your happiness set point.
It also works the other way too. If you were unfortunate enough to experience something devastating. Things would be definitely tough for a while but you would slowly rise back up to that set point again.
Now, although it is relatively easy to boost happiness immediately in your life. (Think of eating your favourite food or buying yourself that special something.) It is tough to make yourself a generally happier person on a consistent basis.
Said another way, in order to raise your happiness set point, you are going to need some dedication and effort.
About 50% of your general happiness is contributed to genetics. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, how important you are, whatever you do, you are stuck at this level thanks to your DNA.
The next component that contributes to your happiness is circumstances. You have some control over this – but not really. It is estimated that circumstances could account for as little as 10% to as much as 40% of your level of happiness.
This means that we can only influence around 25% of our happiness.
How do we maximise our 25%?
There is a lot of information out in the world to help you increase your happiness with thousands of recommended exercises and activities. So much, that it could make you feel overwhelmed and unhappy…
So, below are my top tips to help you select what works for you so you can boost your happiness permanently.
Some happy things will make you unhappy
It will be no surprise to you that different things make different people happy. So, remember this when selecting your exercises to boost your happiness.
It is most likely you will have a gut reaction to the activities that don’t resonate with you.
For example, research shows that writing and sharing forgiveness letters can give you a lasting boost to your mood. But for me, a historically unforgiving soul, just the thought of writing a forgiveness letter makes my neck tense up and my brow furrow.
Some happiness won’t fit
The right activities for you will need to fit into your daily routine.
As much as you might want to take up a regular mediation or exercise program, in reality, it may be a challenge for you to carve out the time on a regular basis.
In these circumstances, you may be better off committing to gratitude exercises or random acts of kindness that you can benefit from doing just once a week.
Some things will make you happier than others
It is obvious that some activities will make you feel happier than others.
Research can give us important feedback on what works on a significant amount of people, but that does not mean it will work for you. The only way you will know is by trying them.
Being a happier person takes trial and error
The more activities you try, the more you will discover about what resonates, works and fits into your life.
You can also tweak recommended exercises and frequencies to find what suits you best. The more activities you can find that boost your happiness – the more options you have to utilise.
Many options are good because variety is also an important component of any happiness program you build into your life.
Habits are key to being a happier person
The key to increasing your happiness set point is to adopt the activities that work for you into your everyday life. They need to become habits.
This will take a while, but once you put in the hard and consistent work, your life will have a permanent happiness boost. And isn’t that worth putting on your hard hat and gloves for?
For some of us, this may feel like an uphill battle. But there is good news. The research shows that you only need to spend about 20% of your work efforts on purposeful activities to reap the benefits.
That is spending only one day in a five day work week on meaningful activities and you can avoid the associated negative effects like burnout and a life that feels… blah.
What this means for you?
If you don’t find purpose in your current role right now – you don’t need to quit your job. You don’t need to take a big leap and follow your passions and dreams (unless you want to).
Finding more purpose in your day could just be a matter of making a few small tweaks to your current role.
Signs you need need to dial up purpose at work
You may be asking yourself – do I need more purpose at work?
Here are some signs that you do:
You are bored at/with work
You feel like you work just to pay the bills
You don’t like your job
You don’t feel challenged at work
You don’t feel like your work is worthwhile or making a difference to anyone
If any (or all) of these resonate with you. Then now is a good time to look at improving how purpose shows up for you at work.
What you need to know about your purpose
Working out how to add more purpose into your day might not be straight forward. You need to understand yourself.
Understanding what brings you a sense of purpose is about understanding your “why”. You want to understand why activities feel fulfilling and worthwhile to you.
To understand your why – you need to start with a bunch of “whats”.
What are your interests?
What are your strengths?
What engages and excites you?
What motivates you?
What do you enjoy doing that benefits others?
What do you want to spend your time on?
What do you avoid doing?
What are your core values?
Looking at these answers holistically will allow you to connect with the things that are meaningful to you. And help you understand what you can tap into in your life and workplace.
The key to finding activities that bring you purpose is to think about the things that can encompass lots of your “whats” at once.
Ways we can find purpose at work
Now that you understand the sort of activities may feel meaningful to you. You can think of ways to apply them at work.
The list below provides different examples of how you can shape your experience in any role to try to dial up feelings of purpose.
Crafting is the art of making your current role feel purposeful (which you are aiming to do 20% of the time). Once you have identified the activities that bring you meaning – work with the people around you to make them happen.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If your manager can’t change your duties – are there other activities you can create yourself? Like mentoring or starting an educational lunchtime program?
How you frame your role will go a long way to how purposeful it feels to you. Research that surveyed janitors working at a hospital found those who considered themselves as part of the healing process for patients had a purposeful connection to their work. In contrast, those who just saw themselves as cleaners did not.
Do you have activities that immerse you – make you lose track of time – give you the feeling you are in your element. This is described by positive psychologists as Flow. Finding flow in your work will help it feel purposeful.
Cultivating good relationships will improve your time at work and can open the doors to future purpose-driven opportunities.
Building relationships that allow you to educate and foster the talents of others will feel purposeful. Seize these opportunities when you can.
Purpose is fluid. New experiences and learning can help to shape your purpose journey and how it shows up for you at work.
Lean into things that interest and excite you and see where it takes you.
Research has shown being aligned with your organisation’s mission and purpose is a large factor in being happy at work.
If you can’t align yourself with the organisational goals – try to do it on a smaller scale. Does your purpose align with a personal client mission? Or, maybe to a project’s outcome?
If you can’t align your goals at work with your purpose – try to look outside of work.
Volunteering your time – using meaningful skills and strengths – is a great way to get purpose into your world. You may also tick the boxes in your home and family life to hit your 20% weekly threshold that feels good.
If you have tried to do all these things above – but havent got results that work for you – it might be time to consider a change. However, you can now create a checklist to use when approaching new opportunities.
The endless search for purpose at work
It is important to remember that purpose is fluid not set. So, you need to approach your journey with an open heart and mind. Be prepared to experiment and make sure you look to balance purpose and practicality.
There will be many opportunities lying in wait for you – so have fun with it. And remember – you only need to do it 20% of your week!
If you are trying to be happier you may be looking for a simple formula – a happiness formula.
We live in world of systems, formulas and programs that promise to help us achieve our goals. And when it comes to dialing up feelings of happiness in our life – aligning our efforts to a proven equation seems attractive.
There are lots of formulas to choose from. But, how do you know which will work for you?
If you want to improve your happiness – it is good to treat your journey like a “choose your own adventure” story.
Everyone is different. What makes you happy – might not make me happy. So, the key is to find what works for you.
Finding a happiness formula (or just part of one) that resonates with you will allow you to start thinking differently. It will help you choose a direction towards a happier you.
So, if you are ready to get started – you are in the right place. Below are some of the basic principles and popular happiness formulas you need for your journey.
Happiness formula rule #1: Explore at will
Before you set off on your happiness journey – it is a good idea to explore your options.
When you do – you will see that there are many different routes you can take. But, this is no reason for concern.
Happiness formulas are like any equations. If, for the sake of demonstration we assume that happiness equals 4. We know there are many options to get us there.
2+2=4, 3+1=4, 8-4=4, 2 squared equals 4.
I think we can “happily” agree that all these equations get us to the answers. It’s just a matter of using the one that works for us – when we need it.
But, which one is the happiness formula you need?
I would argue that it is unlikely that a happiness formula is going to solve all your happiness-related problems. But, I would also argue that you can learn some fundamental points from many of them that can help you on your journey.
So, given all the options, the more you explore, the more likely you are to find things that works for you.
Happiness formula rule #2: Take what you like – leave what you don’t
Another problem we face on our journey is, unlike math, the science of happiness is subjective.
So, not being experts ourselves. How do we really know that an author’s X + Y = 4 and not 5 or 6? Well, we don’t.
The formulas we see are from authors who have years of research, experience, prestige and other important things that add weight to their arguments. So we can use these as one measuring stick for their validity. But all these things might not help you on your happiness journey.
The real key is to find what works for you. So, I invite you to judge the options as you like and see what resonates.
Take from them what you want and leave what you don’t want.
Start your happiness formula adventure here
Below are some noteworthy and popular happiness formulas (in a nutshell) to get you started on your exploration.
Happiness formula best sellers
The businessman and entrepreneur, in his popular book, Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy (2017), states that:
Happiness (is greater or equal to) Your perception of events – Your expectations
So, lower those expectations.
The New York Times best-selling author, in his book The Happiness Equation (2016), provides many “secrets” and tips with the following happiness formula:
Want nothing + Do anything = Have everything
So, along with your expectations, keep your desires low.
A happiness formula from a happiness founding father
Martin Seligman was a founding father of Positive Psychology. A branch of psychology that moved research away from studying the issues towards the positive elements that make as flourish.
Seligman’s formula is as follows:
H = S + C + V
Happiness (H) is your enduring level of happiness
Set range (S) is your genetically set level of happiness
Circumstances (C) are the present circumstances in your life
Voluntary variables (V) this is the part of the equation you can have influence over. This is approximately 40% of the equation and is divided into three buckets. The past, future and present. The more positive emotion you have about these three buckets the happier you will be.
This formula shows us that we are stuck with a certain level of happiness due to our genes and our circumstances, but the portion we can change involves the way we approach the past, future and present. The more positivity we have with our relationship with these buckets, the happier we will be.
So, think fondly about your past, positively about the future and keep trying to dial up your happy vibes in your day.
A three-part happiness formula from a modern-day happiness guru
Arthur C. Brookes is a Harvard Business School Professor, author and podcaster. Brookes gives the following equations to consider.
Equation 2: Habits = Faith + Family + Friends + Work
Equation 3: Satisfaction = What you have ÷ What want
Brookes’ equations echo learnings from the formulas above. For example, we want to curb our desires and we only have so much happiness we can influence. But, Brookes tells us that the key for dialing up our happiness can be found within our faith, relationships and work.
Chapter 2 of your adventure
What resonated for you here? Did you find something that you want to work on and investigate further?
These formulas tell us that you can make yourself happier. And whether you want to work on your expectations, your relationships, your happiness habits or more – what you need to do is find the right path for you.
But, the most important step – is the next one. So, keep up the good work, and keep forging forward with your happiness adventure.
Where does your happiness adventure take you from here? Let us know in the comments!